Photo Credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas addresses a rally commemorating the fifth anniversary of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's death, in Ramallah on Nov. 11, 2009.

What did the recent “Asian Under 23 Fencing Championship” have to do with Israel? More than you might think.

At that event, held in Bangkok, some fencers from Kuwait refused to take part in a match with their Israeli counterparts. The Palestinian Authority was thrilled to hear the news. According to a Palestinian Media Watch translation, the official PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported that the chairman of the Palestinian Fencing Association, speaking on behalf of the PA, publicly praised the Kuwaiti fencers for “their awe-inspiring and noble position” in “stepping down from competing against the Israeli fencers out of opposition to normalization in the field of sports.”


The international community seems to have become accustomed to the Palestinian Arab leadership taking these kinds of hostile steps against Israel. There was no coverage of the fencing incident in the news media, and no protests from the State Department or other governments.

So, since the media and the State Department won’t acknowledge what happened, it is worth reiterating that the PA’s action was a direct and blatant violation of the Oslo Accords.

The opening words of Oslo I (signed in 1993) require the Palestinian leadership to “put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict.” Later, in the Oslo II agreement (Chapter 4, Article XII, signed in 1995), the PA committed itself to fostering “understanding and tolerance” with Israel.

In other words, the PA is required to maintain friendly relations with the Jewish state. It’s not an option. It’s an obligation. And praising athletes for boycotting Israelis is a violation of that obligation. It’s the exact opposite of friendly relations.

But note the date that the fencing incident was reported: Oct. 11, 2022. That was three weeks before the recent Israeli election. So, nobody can blame the PA’s action on Benjamin Netanyahu or Itamar Ben-Gvir, or the Israeli election results in general. This burst of PA anti-normalization hostility took place when Israel was governed by Yair Lapid and his left-wing coalition partners.

This raises two interesting questions. First, why is the Jewish Left, in Israel and the United States, silent about being slapped in the face this way? Second, why weren’t they bothered that the PA was trying to incite athletes against Israel’s left-of-center government?

Remember, for years, the Jewish Left has been telling us that the Palestinian Arabs have become moderate and are finally ready to live in peace with Israel. Normalization of cultural relations, including athletic competitions, are the very essence of peaceful coexistence. If Labor and Meretz and J Street and Americans for Peace Now really want to have genuine peace with the Palestinian Arabs, they should be shouting from the rooftops in protest over the fencing incident.

Why have they remained silent? Because sad to say, the Jewish left’s old dream of peace has been replaced by a new strategy of surrender. They know that normalization is a sham. They know that the PA constantly violates every article of the Oslo agreements. But they don’t care. They simply want Israel to surrender to the Arabs’ demand for every inch of Judea, Samaria, and much of Jerusalem. Surrender has almost become a kind of religion for them.

It’s also worth asking: What does the fencing incident tell us about the PA’s intentions? The answer is that it demonstrates, once again, that any agreement signed by the Palestinian Arab leadership is not worth the paper it’s printed on.

The PA promises peace; then it wages war. The PA promises to combat terrorists; then it shelters and funds terrorists. The PA promises normalization; then it incites boycotts of Israel. It doesn’t matter if the Israeli government is left-of-center or right-of-center because the PA remains true to its unwavering goal of eliminating Israel altogether. And even something as seemingly trivial as the fencing incident illustrates that cold, hard truth once again.


{Reposted from IsraelHayom}


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Stephen M. Flatow is president-elect of the Religious Zionists of America. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995 and the author of A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.